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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “education”

Lyda Krewson

I usually don’t get into politics, but my first public administration class pointed out you can’t separate politics from policy. Elliot Davis of You Paid for It Fame on tv wrote a passionate facebook post in which he postured that Mayor Krewson the first woman mayor of St. Louis is not up for the job. He provided a number of good examples.

Unfortunately, I would have to agree with Elliot. She seems like a nice person but is just going through the motions of being mayor. She has not leadership skills. If I was a police officer or member of an officer’s family, I would have been outraged after her comments making nice to the demonstrators and indirectly criticizing the police. She has done nothing substantive to address crime, job loss, or racial inequality. The Mayor likes to have feel good meetings and is using that process to take 9 months to hire a police chief. I also think the effort to lure Amazon here is a waste of time and money. Written by Paul Dribin

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Student Mentoring

Much of course has been written about poverty, racism, etc. Nothing has worked very well in addressing these problems. Let me propose a very simple idea, mentoring of students.

I have been a mentor at various times in my life and found it a great experience. More important, the young person being mentored and their families seemed to appreciate it.

I am proposing a mentoring program that would address the needs of all the at risk students in the St. Louis metro area. Volunteers need to be sought and programs established. The cost if huge but on a per student basis, quite inexpensive. Furthermore data shows it works.

I am working on starting a program at one school. Anyone else interested?

What Will Get Young People to St. Louis

I read an article last week touting Pittsburgh as the next great place to live. What would earn St. Louis that status?

Despite all my griping about St. Louis I know it is a great place to live. What are the key positive attributes?

1. A lot to do. Great cultural, sports, and dining opportunities. We are more in a league with Chicago rather than Omaha when it comes to cultural activities.

2. Affordable housing. The median housing price is much less than in most big cities. Young couple could get more for their dollar and save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime.

3. Easy to get around- This speaks for itself. You will not need to commute for hours to get to work or school.

4. Top institutions of higher education

Negatives

1. Crime

2. Racial intolerance- Businesses want an open and accepting work and cultural climate for their employees. St. Louis has a long way to go to achieve this goal.

3. A proliferation of small governments-Our system of governance is too expensive, inefficient, and fosters exclusion.

4. Climate-The weather is horrible in the summer and still cold in the winter. Spring and fall are great.

Almost everyone who visits St. Louis likes it. We should develop a program to bring recent college graduates or college senior to town for a weekend to sell them on settling here. We have a lot to offer, and most of the country is unaware of us. Written by Paul Dribin

Crime in St. Louis

The crime scene in St. Louis appears to be worse than ever. Shootings and assaults are reported every day and more of them are taking place in good neighborhoods. Aside from the devastation caused to people and communities, the crime has a negative impact on the economy of the area. More people are afraid to go out, and potential visitors are more likely not to come.

The activism surrounding police violence is absolutely on target. Readers must remember that the biggest cause of deaths among African American young men is violence from other African American men. Also police officers I have talked with, both white and black say they are not willing to aggressively go after crime due to the criticism they might receive.

In the end, there are simply too many people acting badly. Many of these folks are not trainable or employable. Mentoring efforts need to take place with at risk families from the time children are born to try to develop parenting techniques that minimize this type of behavior.

Boys Hope/Girls Hope

This is another article in a series about individuals and groups doing great work in St. Louis.

Boys Hope- Girls Hope is a non profit that takes a boarding educational experience for inner city kids who are in at risk social situations but academically talented. The facility is housed in Richmond Heights and houses 10 male and 10 female scholars. These scholars range in grade from sixth grade to seniors in high school. They attend school at public and private schools. Many receive scholarships. The facility also provides meals, transportation, and extensive social services. Most of these students end up going to college, and about 65% graduate. Many of the alumni mentor the scholars.

In addition, Boys/Hope Girls Hope provides a non residential program which provides all the same programs except housing.

Mentoring

I have volunteered as a mentor to young boys on several occasions. In all cases both the mentor and I have found it to be a positive experience 

In a previous post I have commented on the  positive outcomes at St. DLouis city Academy resulting from strong parental involvement. Mentoring can at least be a partial solution to help kids not fortunate enough to have parents or other family members available.  This also applies to prevention if criminal behavior 

I am calling for mentoring programs for all at risk children and families. Much if this can be accomplished by extensive volunteer efforts. Organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters already Dinan outstanding job. Funding will also be necessary. It will be funding very well spent 

St Louis City Academy

This is not a contrarian article except that it is the first in a series of tributes to little known leaders and programs in St. Louis.

St. Louis City Academy is a k-6 private school located on north Kingshighway. It was founded by Don Danforth who is still CEO. The students are from the city of St. Louis, almost totally African-American. 70% qualify for free lunches.

The results of this school have been incredible. The curriculum is very vigorous and the students are also taught to be respectful and kind. Almost all of them receive scholarships and end up going to high quality private middle schools and high school. The great majority start and complete college and are becoming leaders in our country.

What is the secret? I think great leadership at the school, great teachers, an innovative curriculum and most important parents or significant adult who care dearly about their child’s education. I have the privilege of volunteering there on occasion and it is an uplifting experience.

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